As everyone knows by now, this “internet” fad does not appear to be going away. While most of us rugby veterans remain baffled by all things more complicated than e-mail, most of our young rugby recruits are choosing their team by comparing team web sites. Unfortunately, most amateur rugby clubs have either (i) a massively out-dated web site, (ii) a really poor looking web site or (iii) a combination of both.
For all the amateur rugby clubs around the world, having a professional web site with up-to-date information is critical for recruiting new talent and satisfying sponsors. Here are 5 fast and easy steps to re-creating your brand online:
- Personnel: Find a semi-retired player with unprecedented organizational skills and an expertise in web design, web application architecture, HTML, CSS and PHP. Remind this person to budget 100-200 hours to complete the project.
- Labor: Create and launch your new site taking care to consider the following:
- Include all information from the existing web site, including historical match reports, rants and ramblings of questionable origin, and every photo (no matter how small the image or how far away from the subject the picture was taken).
- The new site should be scalable and flexible so that it can accommodate reams of new information, especially things that just pop into the team managers head and HAVE to be on the web site ASAP.
- The new site is so easy update, even your props and wingers can add and edit the site content.
- The new site should allow participation and interaction by both club members and guests/fans/potential recruits. A “Members Only” section is a great way to keep unsavory content from being displayed to guests (like your Mom) who might visit the site looking for pictures from the latest match.
- Community Building: Contact all your club members and alumni to ensure they register for an account on your site. Be sure to solve any issues people have with using antiquated web browsers and also with web site e-mail notifications being dumped into spam folders.
- Training: Once all your members are registered on your site and can login to the private area, train everyone on how to comment on articles, add posts to the forum, send private messages, etc… You will also want to train a few folks to help manage the site. Training is a fun way to pass a weekend or two.
- Promotion: If a web site is published and no one visits, does it exist? Who knows, but you MUST HAVE TRAFFIC to recruit new talent. Be sure to promote your new site on as many online resources as possible. Getting links from your local rugby union should be reasonably easy. However, you need to continuously search the web for new ways to promote your site including google ad campaigns, local pubs and sponsors, newspapers, rugby competitions, rugby publications, etc… Promoting your site is a fulfilling, never-ending process to remind you just how easy it is to create a successful web site for your rugby club.
Doesn’t that sound easy? Using this simple guide, the Milwaukee Harlequins RFC were able to launch a new site and in one year collected these revealing statistics:
74,233,475 MB of data sent to site visitors
3,902,280 site hits (1,209,304 by the author of this article)
117,405 site visits
1643 MB of site content
1282 downloads from 39 documents in the download section
1163 posts of the forum in 268 topics
1024 photos in the gallery in 23 albums (2008 only)
1000 unique visitors (approximately) per month
90 published articles with 51 comments
68 teams registered online for the 2008 Lake Front 7s
58 calendar events (not including repeating events like practices)
34 pages on the Harlequins Historical Society site
17 items in the apparel store
17 e-mail accounts
16 match reports
6 match videos
6 birth announcements and 1 obituary
4 Google Page Rank
3 Welsh Tourists, 1 Frenchman and 1 Rugby World Article
1 Awesome web site
See how easy that was! Although it sounds simple, I know some folks out there would just feel more comfortable having an expert hold your hand through the process. Luckily, the ruggers at MyRugbySite.com have affordable solutions for any club who wants to get serious about their image.